What if you personally possessed the most valuable resource on Earth?

How would you wield such a prized resource? Would you consume, hoard, or share it?

You would probably want to protect it at all costs, considering it's the world's most valuable resource.

You do possess this mighty resource. In fact, you're expending it right now reading this article.

The world's most valuable resource is...

Attention.

Facebook is in the attention-grabbing business and they have a current market cap of $630 billion. That is more than the market cap of the two biggest oil companies in the United States, Chevron and Exxon Mobile, combined.

Extracting oil and natural gas is big business, but extracting attention from humans is even a bigger business. Attention is the new oil in today's economy.

If attention is the most coveted resource, then someone who controls this resource would maintain great wealth and power.

What does a wise person with access to the world's greatest resource do? Barter. They don't carelessly give away the resource. They trade it for other valuable items.

Similarly, protect your attention resource and only trade it for things of equal or greater value.

Give your attention to a coworker. Gain trust.
Give your attention to a stranger. Gain empathy.
Give your attention to a task. Gain progress.
Give your attention to work. Gain experience.
Give your attention to a customer. Gain loyalty.
Give your attention to learning. Gain knowledge.
Give your attention to your breath. Gain composure.





Be cautious trading your attention for endless scrolling and sophisticated algorithms. While sometimes this results in amusement, discovery, and learning, more often it results in sunk time and lower self-esteem.

If attention is today's most valuable resource, then focus is one of the most valuable skills. In an instantaneous and ever-changing world, the ability to direct and maintain one's attention is a superpower. Those with focus might be the most valuable workers of the future for they can learn anything they center their attention on.

2 Examples of Attention Abuse

Leaders, companies, and institutions can no longer demand people's attention, they must adapt to earn it.

1. Company Training

Too often valuable employee attention is affixed to company training that is long, irrelevant, and forgotten. Conversely, SyncLX creates learning experiences that leverage micro-learning courses and activities that maximize learners' attention and enables them to consume on the go.

The organizations that treat employee attention as the valuable resource that it is will be revered and rewarded with better-focused, more engaged, and loyal talent...especially with the emerging generations.

2. Education

Why is a college class on bowling the same length as an accounting class? That's an abuse of attention. Conversely, Top Rock University empowers students to complete short lessons, at their own pace, and earn a degree in months not years all via a smartphone.

Don't give Instagram your future. Stop scrolling and start learning.

Where you spend your attention, defines you. Wield it well.

Author Note: This will be my last article for this column. Thank you for your attention over the years. You can continue to follow my work as a speaker, author, co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies #1 asset--their people...and as President of Top Rock University, a digital university where students can earn a bachelor's degree for a fraction of the cost and time of a traditional university all via their smartphone.

Published on: Jan 27, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.